Thursday, March 20, 2008

environmental arguments

There is a lot of discussion and debate about the environment among Christians these days. Some saying we need  to take global warming seriously and really strive to take better care of God's creation. Others say we don't know enough; some even doubt that global warming is happening. Some say that God gave us the earth to use, not protect.
Here is a blog post that presents perspectives of Rob Bell and John MacArthur. Funny how people can read the same thing and see so differently--the blog author obviously agrees with MacArthur; I had the opposite take. Bell's perspective seems to me to be much more in line with my understanding of the nature of God and His creation.

I'm also really uncomfortable with MacArthur using the 2 Peter passage to justify an attitude that says we don't need to care for the planet. I know he knows the Bible far better than I, but I don't think that is anywhere near the intended point of the passage.

Anyway, read the two perspectives and tell me what you think! The environment is a topic we will be talking about at Convergence later this year.


Josh said...

what's MacArthur going to do with the Southern Baptists coming out in support of the need to take care of creation? and their affirmation that we need to be aware of global warming?...MacArthur is moving closer and closer to fundamentalism?

Elise Edwards said...

It's interesting - I'm taking a class now that deals with environmental theologies, and it opened my mind to the way people like MacArthur think. It's interesting to see the way a preoccupation with being "residents of heaven, not earth" (or however you say it) and apocalyptic destruction and subsequent formation of a new heaven and new earth can turn into complete disregard for this planet. The problem I see with MacArthur's position is this: even if God is going to wreak some massive destruction on the earth, it oversteps human recognition of God's soveriegnty to think that we should somehow take part in it. Maybe I'm misinterpreting the whole Gospel here, but I'm pretty sure the role of Christians is not to speed up, assist, or happily take part in the destruction of this world - aren't we charged with a mission of reconciliation? If so, our mission goes further than just loving one another, but also to caring for the world we all live in. We can not separate right relationships with other people and right relationships with the planet, because they directly impact one another. What each of us does to the air, water, food chain, natural resources, and the like impact the health of others in our community and our planet. Not to mention future generations.

Anonymous said...

What is it, irony, that 2nd Peter is used? Most of that one is about the misuse of the Word and false teachings, isn't it?
I'm fairly sure that when we were given dominion over the Earth that we were expected to be good stewards. I also think that God's example for us is not one of a destructive depletion of resources, but rather guiding his creation to increase it's goodness and value. I don't have a chapter and verse for that, but I do see it as a theme that we might want to consider for ourselves.

Unknown said...

I just cringe when I read JM perspective as he misses that we are to be faithful in the little things... Like take care of widows orphans this planet even in its present state... it seems he tosses so much into that "its all gonna burn" theology and it means that anything we do to care for creation (hmmm like God seems to) is a waste of time to JM.

If we care for people, we will care for the planet. I believe if we Christians showed reverence for creation as some of the pagans do, they might consider God as the True God. In stead we have come to be known as the religion that wastes the planet and have become so associated with capitalism... we have lost sight of what is truly valuable.

I am pretty new to the whole environmental issues as I am coming out of the "it will all burn" mentality. Though, even if it does, does not negate that we still are called to be good stewards and care for what God cares for.